A sneak peek of ‘The Wayward One’ from Danelle Harmon!

Coming on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2016!

two dh

BOOK BLURB: A bold, hot-blooded Irishman on a dangerous mission … a cool and aristocratic Englishwoman who was never meant to be his captive…

Captain Ruaidri O’ Devir is a bold, hot-blooded Irishman on a dangerous mission … Lady Nerissa de Montforte is a cool and aristocratic Englishwoman who was never meant to be his captive.

The sexy, emotional, exciting and heart-stopping conclusion to the bestselling and wildly popular internationally, the de Montforte series by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Danelle Harmon.

PRE-ORDER LINKS: Amazon

SNEAK-PEAK:

She spoke so casually that Ruaidri had trouble believing that her feelings for this man had been as warm as she claimed them to have been. He was used to women who wore their hearts on their sleeves, their emotions, needs and desires on display for all to see. This cool, elegant woman beside him … did she lack that warmth, or had breeding and class choked off any expression of emotion she might otherwise have shown?
“Ye think he broke yer heart, don’t ye, lass?”
“Of course he did.”
“Yer heart isn’t broken, Lady Nerissa.”
She looked up then, frowning. “How dare you presume to know what is in my heart.”
“Yer heart wasn’t broken, because ye never really loved him the way ye thought ye did, did you?”
“What?”
“You stand here beside me and relate this tale of woe t’ me with a dry eye and all the feeling ye might use to describe a bucket of sand. I think there’s more to you than that, and I think that this man, this Perry, would have made ye miserable. He wasn’t good enough for ye.”
“How dare you, Captain O’ Devir!”
“Well, I’m standin’ here, lookin’ at you. Ye’re made pretty enough to make a man weep, you are, and if this piece of shite couldn’t make up his mind and sweep you off to the altar, he sure wouldn’t have made ye a strong husband. Is that what ye would have settled for? A wishy-washy nob who not only couldn’t make up his mind, but was also gullible enough to be taken in by yer brother’s schemin’?”
She just looked at him, mouth agape. To deny his conclusions would have screamed of falseness; to her credit, she did not.
“He was,” she finally admitted, looking back out over the sea, “…indecisive.”
“And you wanted that in a husband?” He snorted. “Doesn’t seem he was worth a broken heart. Don’t tell me ye’re pinin’ for this blatherin’ idiot. Why, did he ever even kiss ye?”
“Captain!” she gasped, outraged.
“Well, did he?”
“Of course.”
“With passion?”
“He was a gentleman. He … he abided by the rules of propriety.”
“Bollocks.”
She gasped, her eyes widening.
“He was an arse. When are ye goin’ to get good and angry about what he did to ye? If he loved you as ye deserve to be loved, he wouldn’t have dragged his feet, he’d have had a ring on yer finger and you in his bed before ye even had time to consider the difference between a kiss of passion and a kiss of ‘propriety.’” He shook his head. “Ye don’t throw gold overboard. Ye don’t hold a diamond up to the light and wonder whether it’s the real thing when it’s blindin’ ye with its brilliance. Indecisive piece of shite.”
“You did not know him!”
“Why are ye defendin’ him? He took, arguably, the best years of yer life with his wafflin’ like a one-footed duck.”
“Lots of people are indecisive … unsure.”
“Not in my line of work, they aren’t. Indecision will make a person dead, very dead. Oh no, I may be many things, Lady Nerissa, but I can assure you I’m not indecisive.”
“And your point?”
“My point is, the good Lord gave ye a face and form to bring a man to his knees. Yer earl was an idiot. I barely know you, but I can tell ye right now that if I were to kiss ye, it would sure as hell not be a kiss of propriety.”
“Of course it wouldn’t. You are anything but a gentleman.”
“Aye, ‘tis true. But I could show you what a kiss ought to feel like. Taste like. Make ye feel like.”
Her head jerked up, her fingers went to her throat, and in the darkness, he could see the twin stains that suddenly bloomed on her cheeks. “Captain, what makes you think I want you to kiss me?”
“Everythin’ about ye.” He unclasped his hands from behind his back and reaching out, finally tucked that errant strand of hair behind her ear, noting that she did not flinch or slap his hand away. “The way yer eyes look suddenly intrigued despite the protests of yer tongue. The fact that ye haven’t slapped me. The fact that when I suggested it, ye swayed toward me just the slightest bit.” He cocked his head, letting a little smile touch the corner of his mouth. “Ye’d enjoy it, you know.”
“You are arrogant and audacious.”
“And I could kiss ye senseless.”
She turned from the rail to face him, her eyes a defiant challenge that intrigued and amused him. She had been jilted by this complete arse of an earl, had been manipulated by the even bigger arse that was her brother but she was no simpering miss, and she was honest enough with herself that the idea of letting him kiss her was one that she viewed as a challenge. Perhaps even compensation for the way both fiancé and brother had made a total muck-up of her life.
“Ye’re not gettin’ any younger,” he prompted.
“And you’re not getting any less arrogant.”
“Aye, don’t hold yer breath on that one.”
She stood there looking at him, her eyes lovely in the darkness, her face so beautiful it took his breath away.
He did not move, allowing her this decision, the respect to have it put in her hands; a respect that others might not have given her.
Her chin came up and her eyes suddenly caught the glint of the rising moon. “Very well, then,” she said. “You think you can make me feel something I doubt I’ll ever feel again? Then kiss me.”
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AUTHOR BIO: Bestselling, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed author Danelle Harmon has written ten books, previously published in print and distributed in many languages throughout the world. Though born and raised in Massachusetts, she and her husband, a native of southwest London, were married and lived in England for several years.

These days, Ms. Harmon and her husband make their home in New England with their daughter Emma and numerous animals including four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and numerous pet chickens. Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at her Email or Facebook.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook / Tweeter / Website / Blog

‘A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong’ by Cecilia Grant

acgpw cgSTORY: It should have been simple…

With one more errand to go—the purchase of a hunting falcon—Andrew Blackshear has Christmas completely under control. As his sister’s impending marriage signals the inevitable drifting-apart of the Blackshear family, it’s his last chance to give his siblings the sort of memorable, well-planned holiday their parents could never seem to provide.

He has no time to dawdle, no time for nonsense, and certainly no time to drive the falconer’s vexing, impulsive, lush-lipped, midnight-haired daughter to a house party before heading home. So why the devil did he agree to do just that?

It couldn’t be more deliciously mixed-up…

Lucy Sharp has been waiting all her too-quiet life for an adventure, and she means to make the most of this one. She’s going to enjoy the house party as no one has ever enjoyed a house party before, and in the meanwhile she’s going to enjoy every minute in the company of amusingly stern, formidably proper, outrageously handsome Mr. Blackshear. Let him disapprove of her all he likes—it’s not as though they’ll see each other again after today.

…or will they? When a carriage mishap and a snowstorm strand the pair miles short of their destination, threatening them with scandal and jeopardizing all their Christmas plans, they’ll have to work together to save the holiday from disaster. And along the way they just might learn that the best adventures are the ones you never would have thought to plan.

REVIEW: This was such a fun little novella and if you haven’t read any of this author’s stories before, I think you should give this prequel to the other books, a chance.

The Blackshear family is interesting, intriguing and vastly amusing.

I liked Andrew, the oldest Blackshear brother so much. Talk about a gentleman! He is one of those hero’s that you can’t help but like. He is so prim and proper, so “starched” that being in his mind I just couldn’t help but chuckle through the whole book.

And then we have Lucy. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy! She was a perfect counterpart to Andrew and no matter what he may have thought of her actions, he just couldn’t help but like her.

Ms. Grant is one of those authors that creates characters that even though they come to us from 200 years ago, you can’t help but identify with them.

I highly recommend it and especially now that you can grab it for FREE!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘A Woman Entangled’ by Cecilia Grant

awe cgSTORY: Kate Westbrook has dreams far bigger than romance. Love won’t get her into London’s most consequential parties, nor prevent her sisters from being snubbed and looked down upon—all because their besotted father unadvisedly married an actress. But a noble husband for Kate would deliver a future most suited to the granddaughter of an earl. Armed with ingenuity, breathtaking beauty, and the help of an idle aunt with connections, Kate is poised to make her dreams come true. Unfortunately, a familiar face—albeit a maddeningly handsome one—appears bent on upsetting her scheme.

Implored by Kate’s worried father to fend off the rogues eager to exploit his daughter’s charms, Nick Blackshear has set aside the torch he’s carried for Kate in order to do right by his friend. Anyway, she made quite clear that his feelings were not returned—though policing her won’t abate Nick’s desire. Reckless passion leads to love’s awakening, but time is running out. Kate must see for herself that the charms of high society are nothing compared to the infinite sweet pleasures demanded by the heart.

REVIEW: Horrors of horrors! No, not the book. I just realized that I’ve read this book way back when it first got out, however I’ve never reviewed it! I honestly thought I did. If you are a reviewer, I know you’ll understand how this can happen. To say I’m embarrassed would be an understatement. I’d like to apologies to the author and to the publishing house, as well as to all of you because this book should have been on your TBR couple of years ago. Well, I guess that the old adage “Better late than ever!” definitely applies here ;)

This is yet another well written and plotted story from an author that is very new to me and that I seriously think will be someone who I must read, no matter what.

Her stories are fresh, poignant and extremely real. She thrives on creating characters that are flawed, yet redeemable in the readers’ eyes. I like the fact that Ms. Grant takes chances with creating characters who are unique and who you may not like at first, yet they are interesting and entertaining. They are meant to make me think and mull over the reasons behind the choices they make.

Both Kate and Nick had to work hard for me to like them, and in the end I did. I questioned many decisions these two made and I had a blast finding out what made them tick.

If you’ve never read this author, please try to remedy the situation. She is too good to be missed.

Melanie for b2b

‘A Gentleman Undone’ by Cecilia Grant

agu cgSTORY: Lydia Slaughter understands the games men play—both in and out of the bedroom. Not afraid to bend the rules to suit her needs, she fleeces Will Blackshear outright. The Waterloo hero had his own daring agenda for the gaming tables of London’s gentlemen’s clubs. But now he antes up for a wager of wits and desire with Lydia, the streetwise temptress who keeps him at arm’s length.

A kept woman in desperate straits, Lydia has a sharp mind and a head for numbers. She gambles on the sly, hoping to win enough to claim her independence. An alliance with Will at the tables may be a winning proposition for them both. But the arrangement involves dicey odds with rising stakes, sweetened with unspoken promise of fleshly delights. And any sleight of hand could find their hearts betting on something neither can afford to risk: love.

REVIEW: Cecilia Grant had me at A LADY AWAKENED, and in her second novel she continues to hold my interest with a story that is filled with too much reality, and some may find it hard to accept the romance within it. After all, the heroine was a prostitute turned courtesan, and while our hero knows he should keep away from such a woman, the circumstances are such that neither can avoid the other.

Will Blackshear, is THE beta hero of beta heroes! I adored this man! Here is a man that personifies the words ‘gentleman’ and ‘honor’, yet I sometimes thought even he didn’t think himself worthy of the description of those two words.

Cecilia Grant can write well, plot well, and infuse sensuality so well that she will have you sighing well after you’re done reading her stories.

Ms. Grant penned yet another character-driven, heartwarming and wrenching love story that is NOT to be missed this year!

Melanie for RRAH

‘A Lady Awakened’ by Cecilia Grant

ala cgSTORY: Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate and beloved servants from her malevolent brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes . . . for a fee.

Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh—only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all . . . love?

REVIEW: The above blurb is adequate in summarizing the story, so I’ll not go into it further. What I would like to tell you is how much I liked this author’s prose, in spite of the plot that I found familiar of late. But above all, I appreciated the pace of the story.

The author took the characterization of both hero and heroine very seriously by making them both flawed; Regency era gave their situation, actions and feelings a believable touch of realty so they weren’t turned into clichés and caricatures of themselves. I liked both characters very much because of who they were, who they wanted to be, and who they became to each other. The reason behind it is, yet again, the pace of the story. It helped me to connect with Martha in my own time and on my terms. She was not an easy heroine to like at first, but the more Theo got to know her, the more I liked her.

To Theo, on the other hand, I warmed up right away. His ‘devil may care’ nature may have not impressed our heroine much, at first, but it appealed to me and made me like him. As the author took us in deeper, we appreciated him more, as the heroine did. It was truly fun watching these two totally opposites come to terms with each other and slowly realizing that LOVE chose them for each other.

This is not your typical cookie cutter romance, despite its trope.  By choosing this plot, the author took a gamble in giving us the slower pace and fully developing her players first, main and secondary, thus making them very real and the plot easy to accept. I’d say the gamble paid off, as I enjoyed this Regency tale very much, and I’m looking forward to Ms. Grant’s future tales. Welcome to my Keeper shelf, Ms. Grant!

Melanie for RRAH

‘House of Shadows’ by Nicola Cornick

hos ncSTORY: London, 1662:

There was something the Winter Queen needed to tell him. She fought for the strength to speak.
‘The crystal mirror is a danger. It must be destroyed – ‘
He replied instantly. ‘It will’.

Ashdown, Oxfordshire, present day:

Ben Ansell is researching his family tree when he disappears. As his sister Holly begins a desperate search, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to an ornate antique mirror and to the diary of Lavinia, a 19th century courtesan who was living at Ashdown House when it burned to the ground over 200 years ago.

Intrigued, and determined to find out more about the tragedy at Ashdown, Holly’s only hope is that uncovering the truth about the past will lead her to Ben.

REVIEW: Queen Elizabeth is married to King Frederick who is a member of the Order of the Rosy Cross. From this group she was given a crystal mirror surrounded by diamonds plus a large pearl known as the Sistrin pearl. Both of these things are said to be powerful and while the force was once used for good, the power has now been corrupted by the greed of men. Thus begins the story of how this mirror and pearl have affected the lives of people from 1596 to the present day.

William Craven was a loyal courtier to Queen Elizabeth for many years. It is said that they had married after the death or King Frederick. Craven did the Queen’s bidding in many different ways. Knowing that the mirror and pearl have now become symbols of evil, Craven thought he had destroyed them. But they resurfaced many years later.

Today, we find Holly whose brother, Ben, has gone missing from their vacation home called Ashdown Mill. The area was once part of a home that Craven had built for Elizabeth. Holly decides to move into the house while the search is on for Ben. When she starts researching the area and the history of Craven and Elizabeth, she uncovers information about the mirror and pearl. In addition, she finds an old diary written long ago with ties to this significant past.

This was an interesting book, but a bit too long and detailed for my taste. It goes back and forth from the 1600’s to present day. History buffs will probably love it.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Lord Fenton’s Folly’ by Josi S. Kilpack

lff jskSTORY: Lord Fenton is a gambler, a dandy, and a flirt—and he must marry or else he will be disinherited, stripped of his wealth and his position. He chooses Alice Stanbridge for two simple reasons: he once knew her as a young girl, and she is the least objectionable option available to him.

However, Alice has harbored feelings for Fenton since their first meeting ten years ago, and she believes his proposal is real. When she discovers it is not, she is embarrassed and hurt. However, a match with the most-eligible bachelor in London would secure not only her future but that of her family as well.

Determined to protect herself from making a fool of herself a second time, Alice matches Lord Fenton wit for wit and insult for insult as they move toward a marriage of convenience that is anything but a happy union. Only when faced with family secrets that have shaped Fenton’s life does he let down his guard enough to find room in his heart for Alice. But can Alice risk her heart a second time?

REVIEW: Lord Charles Fenton is the son of Lord and Lady Chariton.  Charles’s father has always been a mean man and unfaithful to his wife excusing his behavior by saying that is just what men do.  Thus, their marriage is a very cool one.  In retaliation toward his father for his coldness toward him and his mother, Charles has enjoyed living the easy life of gambling, heavy drinking, dressing in foppish clothes, and generally acting the fool.

Charles has been friends for many years with the Stanbridge family, going to school with their son and being friends with their daughter, Alice, since she was quite small. Alice enjoys drawing and gardening.  Alice has adored Charles and when he promises her as a small child that one day he will marry her and in the meantime, he will arrange for her to have her own garden, she is thrilled and promptly falls in love with him.  But when she learns later that he did not mean his proposal, her heart is broken and she hates him.
For many years after, Charles and Alice continue to dislike one another and can hardly be civil to each other when they happen to meet.  So, when Charles’s father demands that he marry and cease his gambling and foppish lifestyle, Charles and Alice are horrified to learn that a marriage of convenience has been arranged between them.  It appears that her family needs money and Charles needs a good woman for a wife.
The marriage starts off fairly well but they both decide to reside apart.  Charles’s mother and Alice are great friends and live in the same house.  Lady Chariton has a bad cough and is quite frail.  Alice does all she can to try to use her knowledge of herbs to help the cough and to tempt her appetite.  As her health continues to fail, Alice and Charles come together to do what they can to make his mother comfortable.  In doing so, they begin to learn more about one another that allows them to put aside their past differences and see the possibilities of a good marriage for them.
This book was written beautifully.  The author developed the characters so perfectly and it was fun to watch them grow and mature.
Connie for b2b
Complementary ARC provided by the publisher